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Suneel Darshan feels Upen is being victimised

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
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Suneel Darshan, whose "Shakalaka Boom Boom" is ready for release, feels there's a concerted effort to pull down his new protégé Upen Patel.

But Darshan is quite confident about Upen and says he is going to be a big star.

"I'm so confident about him. His body language is amazing. And my presentation of Upen shows what magic an actor can create if the director has faith in him," Darshan told IANS.

"I don't want to compare him with Akshay Kumar. But they're very similar.... Except that Upen is 15 years younger. That difference is bound to show. Also, Upen is naturally urbane and chic. I'm not denying Akshay's ability to put in hard work."

Darshan is vocal about Upen being sidelined in the promos of Vipul Shah's "Namastey London", releasing Friday.

"I really don't want to comment on Akshay and his loyal friends. I'm happy that Upen is so prominently projected in my trailers. All I'll say is casting a newcomer is a far bigger responsibility than casting an established actor. A filmmaker must not let a newcomer down."

He says he was very happy when Upen got a role in "Namastey London".

"I remember when Upen had been taken to Shah by Akshay's secretary, Upen has excitedly told me he was a leading man in 'Namastey London'. I felt he was lucky to get a lead role with a star like Akshay. I don't know what happened! The trailer of 'Namastey London' hasn't given him the respect of a leading man."

Upen's character is prominent in "Shakalak Boom Boom" and he is prominently projected in the trailers.

"Upen deserves much better. I've gone through a lot of trauma at a time when Upen came into the industry. So I couldn't guide him properly. I wish I had. There's an effort by some to paint him as a bad boy. He isn't that.

"He's a boy, who came in alone from London and made it on his own. His detractors have spread the rumour that he has financed his films. Rubbish! Let 'Shakalaka Boom Boom' come and everyone will fall in love with his character."

As for Kangana, "I feel the girl holds great potential. She isn't conventionally glamorous. But she has the body language of today's woman and I've given her a role that matches her personality. We had cast another girl in the role. But Kangana was ideal. I feel emotionally for her. She's a girl from a small town making it on her own in our cinema."

Darshan is excited about the changes in the industry.

"So much technique has changed. And I wanted to be a part of the change. Today, making a film is a big responsibility. I've been very careful with the quality and content in 'Shakalaka Boom Boom'. It isn't as though I'm apologetic about my style of filmmaking. But yes, while my earlier films were targeted at family audiences, 'Shakalaka Boom Boom' is for the youth."

Darshan lashes out at some of the over-hyped films.

"You can't write reams and reams about films, comparing our directors with David Lean and what not. I felt happy when 'Lage Raho Munna Bhai' worked. But 'Eklavya'? It was well shot but I wish the content matched the form. I've been a Vinod Chopra fan since 'Parinda'.

"Mine is a young film but not a juvenile film. I have made unsuccessful films but not bad films. I'm comfortable working with people, who're happy working with me. Never mind if they move on. I'd say I've been privileged to work with Akshay, Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutta and Bipasha Basu. Some of these became big stars in front of my eyes. I'm very proud of them. I'd like to think I made a contribution to their careers."



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